16 Dec 2014

Tributes for Sydney siege victims

6:15 pm on 16 December 2014

She was a top lawyer and mother-of-three. He reportedly wrestled with the gunman. Meet the people killed in the Sydney siege.

Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.

Katrina Dawson, 38 and Tori Johnson, 34, died in the siege. Photo: AAP

Mr Johnson was the manager of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in central Sydney's Martin Place where the 16-hour siege took place and Ms Dawson was a Sydney lawyer and mother-of-three who was a customer at the cafe.

Sources have told the ABC that Mr Johnson was trying to wrestle the weapon away from the gunman when he was killed but authorities have not confirmed that.

The gunman at the centre of the siege, 50-year-old Man Haron Monis, was also killed. He has been on bail for a charge of accessory to his former wife's murder. He took 17 people hostage.

Mr Johnson had been employed at the cafe since October 2012 and had worked at a string of other restaurants and hospitality companies around Sydney, the ABC reported.

His family said in a statement they would carry his memory with them and passed on their condolences to Ms Dawson's family.

"We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this Earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for," the statement said.

"We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson."

They also thanked emergency services for their efforts during the siege and the public for their messages of support.

"We'd like to thank not only our friends and loved ones for their support but the people of Sydney; Australia and those around the world for reaching out with their thoughts and prayers," they said.

"Our deepest gratitude to the NSW Police, Armed Forces and paramedics for their tireless efforts."

A woman adds her tribute to a sea of flowers in Sydney Martin Place.

A woman adds her tribute to a sea of flowers in Sydney Martin Place. Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton

Ms Dawson worked as a barrister at Selbourne Chambers in the CBD and had three young children.

Ms Dawson was married to Paul Smith, a partner at Mallesons, whom she met while completing her clerkship at the firm, the ABC reported.

She studied law at Sydney University, where she lived at the women's college as a student.

She topped the state in her high school certificate in 1994 with a TER of 100 and also topped her bar exams.

The New South Wales Bar Association said Ms Dawson had been held hostage with two other barristers.

"Katrina was one of our best and brightest barristers who will be greatly missed by her colleagues and friends at the NSW Bar," the association said in a statement.

"She was a devoted mother-of-three children and a valued member of her floor and of our bar community.

"Our thoughts are with her family at this time including her brother Sandy Dawson of Banco Chambers."

Representatives of the Muslim community pray after laying flowers at a floral memorial at the scene of the Sydney siege.

Representatives of the Muslim community pray after laying flowers at a floral memorial at the scene of the Sydney siege. Photo: AFP

Dozens of Muslim groups have issued a joint statement expressing sympathy for the families of those killed and injured during the siege.

"We pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured and traumatised," Australia's Grand Mufti, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, said in the statement.

"We are confident that with a continued display of responsibility and restraint, community harmony will be maintained."

Lindt and Sprüngli, which owns the cafe, released a statement on Facebook thanking NSW Police and offering support to the siege victims and their families.

"Our thoughts and feelings are with the victims and their families who have been through an incredible ordeal, and we want to pay tribute to their courage and bravery," the statement said.

Survivor's father horrified at deaths

The Sunshine Coast father of a Lindt employee caught up in the siege said he was relieved his daughter made it out alive but was horrified at the loss of others.

Harriette Denny, 30, ran from the cafe with five other hostages, just before police launched their assault.

Robert Denny said his family spent an anxious night watching the events unfold on television but had now spoken with his daughter.

"I spoke with her twice today, maybe three times I can't remember and she's okay," he said.

"She's tired, she's relieved and she's distressed that her friend the duty manager didn't make it through."

"Tori was a great guy, a good guy to be around," he said.

"He got on really well with all the staff."

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